Bjorn Amelan and Bill T. Jones
the entire pantheon of Hindu deities, Vishnu, in his incarnation
as the avatar Krishna, most flamboyantly represents divine charm
and attractiveness. Be he the adorably mischievous tyke stealing
his mother's clarified butter, the supreme lover capable of engaging
every woman-married or not-in his village, or as he is represented
here, Kaliyahimarddaka dancing on one of the heads of a monstrous,
poisonous serpent-he personifies the childlike glee, sensuality,
and charismatic accessibility of all great performers.
In this Chola-period
rendering of the avatar, every element lends itself to seduction.
His moon-shaped face, framed by divine ears, though somewhat mask-like,
possesses full, pouty lips that are slightly parted with delight
in his dancing. Flawless skin covers his broad shouldered torso.
His dance on Kaliya's head is obviously rhythmical, sprightly, brimming
with that insouciance and wit that star performers use to capture
and hold their audience. His right foot, gracefully pointed as it
leaves the serpent's head, produces a provocative lifting of his
hip and an eye catching bunching of the soft flesh round his middle.
This divine entertainer is male/female, child and man. His impudent
little penis keeps its own time in stark contrast to the muscular
sinuous rhythm of the snake's tail held elegantly as if it were
a musical instrument.
has it that even the most hideous monster is gratified to be chastised
or killed by the seductive god as its soul is immediately freed
from the endless cycle of birth and death and achieves cosmic consciousness.
Witnessing this performance, one can only envy the vanquished snake.